As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned that the country could face a second wave of the pandemic if people do not take necessary measures to protect themselves.
“There is now clear evidence of a resurgence of infections in parts of our country, which, if not confronted decisively and directly, could lead to great suffering and death,” Ramaphosa said in an address to the nation Thursday night while providing an update on the government’s progress in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
The president said they have introduced new restrictions in the affected hotspot area of Nelson Mandela Bay Metro to curb the spread of the virus. These include the hours of the curfew being adjusted to 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
“This means that except for emergencies – no person may be outside their place of residence between those times,” Ramaphosa said.
He said alcohol consumption in public spaces such as beaches and parks is strictly forbidden. This is necessary to prevent large social gatherings.
The president also said gatherings, including religious ones, may not be attended by more than 100 people for indoor events and 250 for outdoor events.
He said citizens can only prevent a second wave if all of them respect the rules that have been put in place for the protection of everyone.
“For the safety of all of us, those who break the rules must face consequences.”
Ramaphosa said the government has instructed law enforcement officials to ensure compliance with the law by owners, controllers and managers of workplaces, shops, institutions and buildings to ensure social distancing and the wearing of masks.
South Africa, which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases on the continent, is the 16th most affected country globally.